If you spend anytime reading tech or tech-related articles (such as this one by FutureLawyer) you may have heard of Bitcoins. Essentially, it’s an invented currency, which is gaining popularity in some circles, especially amongst those who dislike or reject governmental control over monetary policy.
Certainly, the idea is interesting and perhaps something might come of in in the future – but as an attorney, is it something you should be concerned with? While no ethical decisions regarding their use have (or likely will, in the foreseeable future) come down – it would seem that there would be no ethical problem with accepting bitcoins as payment for services rendered (as opposed to holding them in trust – which, because of the nature of the bitcoin system would certainly be something you would be wise to await official guidance from your Bar – we strongly doubt it would be permissible)
As a practical matter, it doesn’t seem like it would be something you’d need to be concerned with – use of bitcoins is still rather limited and unless you represent the types of people who regularly use them, it’s probably safe to stick with cash, check, and credit cards. That said, just like the few attorneys who created virtual practices on second life, you could find it to be a worthwhile niche.